I will take my departure as a change

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Nov 29, 2015-

Having scripted glorious days of Nepali cricket in the last four years, Pubudu Dassanayake has left for Canada quitting as the national team coach. The 45-year old cricket strategist guided Nepal to unprecedented successes including qualifications for the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 and World Cricket League Championship—an elite 50-over competition between the non-Test playing countries. Dassanayake spoke to Adarsha Dhakal before his departure. Exerpts:

How do you remember the last four years?

There are lots of memories. One of the biggest things I will never forget is that any coach will love to have this bunch of players who are committed, want to work hard and improve. I am 100 per cent sure that I will not get that again anywhere in the world in any job that I would do.

What was your first impression about Nepali cricket when you came here?

I did lot of research before coming here. One of the major reasons to be here was the amount of talented cricketers Nepali cricket has and I wanted to go to a place where I can perform. I am happy with what we have done so far.

Where does Nepali cricket stands at the moment?

Nepal cricket is in crossroads. It is in a very delicate and hot plate where anything can happen if it is not taken care of properly. We are playing at a level which is much tougher than Division 2, 3 or 4. If we take the

six games in Division 2 and four matches in World Cricket League (WCL) that we played, seven of them went into the last over and we couldn’t close out the matches that we were winning. But there are reasons for not being able to seal victories in those matches.

Taking Sagar Pun as an example, he struggled to make runs for eight to 10 months before coming out of the clouds lately, scoring in 40s or 50s. Now we are two and half months away from our next WCL match (against Namibia). To take Sagar into another level, we need to give him 15 to 20 matches in between but if he doesn’t get them, he is going to be the same person. Nepal is blessed to have a talent like him and even a 10 to 15 percent of increment in his ability could make difference for us in the results. There are several examples like Sagar who don’t get proper exposure. If we don’t start things from now, we will head nowhere.

How was it possible to qualify for World Twenty20?

I am happy to say that it all came due to the hard work from our players. Before my first assignment (2011 ACC Twenty20), Nepal had not gone into the second round of the ACC Twenty20. It was the biggest challenge for us to take the team ahead from there. The boys were technical correct but cannot play big shots and score faster. We did a lot of work. When you work hard, luck also comes with you. With the effort that we put during that period, everything fell into its place for us.

Do you regret not being able to change the domestic structure of cricket in Nepal?

The biggest disappointment for me was I couldn’t do anything in the development part. It’s a sad situation when you have a national team of immense potential but it doesn’t get good back up. It happened to Kenya and other Associate countries. We are moving in their direction. The other thing that I also regret is not being able to put officials and players on the same table. Nothing goes right when there is communication gap between administration and players.

Don’t you think the team needs you more right now than when you came in because the team is also in a verge of transition?

I am sad to leave at this point. I was in a position where I cannot change the system. If I cannot change the system and stick to my job, I am going to be the same. I think I took the right decision to stand up and say ‘this is not right and if it is not changing, I am not going to be a part of it’. If somebody thinks that I should not be leaving at this point, I will take it as my departure has made impact to change this system for the future.

Your last few years as Nepal coach was blighted by controversies, is that a regret for you?

These controversies are the part of the job. That was one of the reasons why I left my previous job (as coach of Canada) because I didn’t like the way things were moving. It is the reason why they are sliding down. I regret for not standing enough against the wrong things there. For ordinary eyes, it looks I made money in Nepal but cricket was never a job for me here. I just wanted to put the things into right place regardless of the consequences.

If I had wanted to keep this job for a longer period, I would have carried on with this system and be in the good books for certain people. But for me, the major thing was when something was not going right, I had to stand up against it and bring a change. Being the in charge of the bunch of players who put extra effort on the field to bring results for the country, I cannot keep mum when the administration is not efficient. That is one of the reasons why I am leaving.

Doesn’t it give you a bitter feeling to leave a country that has loved you so much?

It’s not easy. I had very emotional evening with the players before my departure. The bond that we build up here is beyond cricket. I would always get connected with all the people here who have done so much of hard work. From any place, I will be ready to help everyone who have been closest to me.

As you head back to Canada, what is your advice to CAN? What are the steps that it need to take?

I know the country’s situation is not going well but we have to be a bit creative to find things which can help us do better in WCL. Firstly, we need to put a six-month domestic cricket season that will allow all the national and regional players to get engaged to a busy schedule. We need a second string team training under local coaches. To have a bigger impact in the national team, the second string team needs to play domestic cricket in full member countries. The change needs to happen now because we are already running out of time.

Published: 29-11-2015 09:39

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